Feeling Your Feelings Sets You Free
Feeling stressed? Episode #002 of The Prana + Patchouli Podcast is for you. We uncover what stress is from a spiritual perspective and how you can heal it by creating a new relationship with your feelings. I also share an affirmation to let go of fear and guide you through a powerful 90-second practice to set you free from stress and other emotions.
Press play or click here to listen:
We’re living in wild times right now and whatever you’re feeling - anxious, overwhelmed, scared or hopeful - you’re not alone. In the last few months our worlds have been turned upside down with the pandemic and we didn’t see it coming. While we can’t control what’s happening around us, we can control how we feel and respond. Difficult times require us to dive deeper inwards and these storms create opportunities for growth. Our outer world may not change, but our inner experience will.
Stress is a fear-based reaction to life, its constant changes and uncertainty. But, if you think about it, change is and always has been our only constant.
I find calm and comfort in that.
One of my favourite authors, Louise Hay, says that stress is “an excuse for not facing our feelings” and “if we can equate the word stress with the word fear, then we can begin to eliminate the need for fear in our lives”.
So, how can we free ourselves from fear and flow through life feeling safe?
Well, the quickest way to change our lives is by changing our minds. In any given moment, we have two choices: fear or love. Our thoughts are so powerful and we can use the magic of our own minds to choose love and replace fearful thoughts with peace and happiness. My favourite way to do this is with a mantra, because where focus goes, energy flows. That’s when potential and reality become the same. So, whenever you want to create a shift, repeat this mantra: “I release my fear and choose love instead”. How do you feel when you say that, silently or out loud? Make this your mantra and let it guide you back to your natural state.
Another of my greatest tools to heal stress is to feel your feelings. So many of us avoid our emotions. We push them down or run away from them so we don’t have to feel the pain or discomfort they bring. We’re afraid to feel them. But why do we give our power away?
By getting comfortable with our feelings, we can free ourselves from them. Stress and fear often arise because we don’t allow ourselves to feel the feelings that live below the triggers.
When we’re stressed, the sympathetic nervous system, or our fight/flight response is activated and our bodies produce hormones that enable us to fight or flee at a moment’s notice. This is a valuable thing when we’re actually in danger and need to run from a... bear for example, but it becomes a problem when we find ourselves in prolonged periods of stress. And, with all the stress of life today, we’re in that state all the time. The thing is, these same chemicals inhibit our other bodily functions that don’t deal with staying alive in a moment of danger, such as digestion, our ability to heal or connect to our intuition, amongst other things, which can cause issues in the rest of the body. Stress is literally like being in survival mode, all of the time. But there’s a better way of being in the world.
Over time, I’ve learned to honour my feelings. A few years ago, I was struggling with stress and burnt out because I was working non-stop. My mistake was ignoring the compassionate alarm my intuition had been sounding for a while… I needed to slow down. That’s when I really started to pay attention. I honoured my stress. I loved my anxiety. I was grateful for it because it allowed me to bring the darkness to light. Honestly, I used to think that I was broken, then I realised that while those feelings are a part of me, they’re not who I am.
When you feel your feelings, you give a voice to them. It’s like you’re handing over a microphone. Listen to them. What are they trying to tell you?
Your feelings can provide a roadmap to your healing, showing you where you’re out of balance - so you can free yourself from fear and stress and choose a new path back to love and peace.
It only takes 90 seconds to transform a feeling. By letting ourselves feel the way we feel by using our breath to anchor into those feelings, we can allow them to move through us. In moments of stress or fear, we can consciously turn to our breath for help.
Close your eyes and take three full breaths to tune in and notice how you feel on the inside. Describe that feeling. Maybe you can easily identify the emotion? It could be stress, fear or something else. Does it have a colour, texture or temperature? Where does that feeling live in your body? It could be in your heart, your belly, or even your kidneys, the seat of fear in your body, with the adrenals on top that regulate your body’s response to stress. Wherever it is, place your hand there and really feel into it. Give yourself permission to breathe into the feeling for 90 seconds, knowing that you’re in a safe space to own it, hold it and feel it. The more honest you get about how you feel, the more you can heal. Go bigger. Breathe deeper. Allow it to move through you. With each breath out, feel yourself coming back to peace. Take one more full breath in and let go. Let’s close this practice with a mantra: “I honour my stress and surrender it now. I release my fear and choose love instead”. When you’re ready, open your eyes.
This practice might feel scary at first, but allowing yourself to witness your feelings with curiosity can help you overcome the fear of getting to know them. The focus on the breath also helps to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is our body’s relaxation response - a chemical cascade that encourages healing and wellbeing. After doing this practice, a student once said to me: “I felt like everything I’ve been running away from came up to the surface, and it was uncomfortable to go there, but I feel so much better now”. I responded, “you have to feel it to heal it”.
FREE MINI YOGA RETREAT
Deeper breaths are waiting. Soothe stress and restore your body, mind and soul.
You'll also get my weekly emails. Unsubscribe at any time.